say that some of the best ways to reduce jet lag are to
drink plenty of water, to stretch your legs and to sync your sleep
schedule to the current time zone. But, in our book, it’s a stay at
The Langham’s New York address that will wipe away any post-flight
Having opened its first hotel on London’s storied Portland Place
back in 1865, the Langham Hospitality Group today has a portfolio
of 30 properties across some of the world’s most magnificent
cities. Anchored on the buzzy Fifth Avenue, just a short stroll
from some of the Big Apple’s most legendary landmarks, the NYC
outpost is a landmark in its own right. Built in 2010 as The Setai
Fifth Avenue, the property was snapped up by the hoteliers in 2013.
Following a comprehensive refurb, the five-star pad is a lesson in
what a glamorous getaway means.
We haven’t even clambered out of our taxi before our bags are
whisked through spotlight-studded revolving doors. After a full day
spent travelling, stepping inside the hotel reminds us of how it
felt trying on noise-cancelling headphones for the first time:
utter bliss. The signature scent (which we later learn is
purchasable for your own crib) fills the air with a hint of ginger
flower, accompanied by a soft jazz soundtrack. Jet lag? We don’t
The Langham skyline view, left, and the lobby
The hotel’s 234 guest rooms are spread across 61 floors. We’d
give you a heads-up on the room types but you’d be here all day. We
stayed in an Executive Club, which had enough floor space for us to
smash our daily step count – something that is incredibly rare by
NYC standards. On entering, we pause to take in the wardrobe space,
a walk-in set-up with glass-fronted walnut drawers and enough
mirrors for us to live out our Blair Waldorf dreams. Turning a
corner, we are taken aback by the number of windows, with not one
but eight floor-to-ceiling whoppers presenting flawless views of
the Empire State Building – a canvas it would be rude to draw the
curtains on. Details such as snug armchairs, a sizable desk and
bedside lamps complete with built-in charging ports make for a
comfortable stay. The bathroom? An all-white marble oasis with
rainforest shower, Olympic-sized tub, dual vanity unit and foldable
stools that call for a glam sesh.
What’s for dinner?
Ai Fiori, headed up by chef Yoshiyuki Nonaka, sees a fusion of
Italian-meets-French greatness plated up in a moody, low-lit
setting: think creamy burrata served with a rich tomato chutney,
jamón serrano ham and agrodolce, and blue crab spaghetti with
calabrian chilli. Dessert-wise, it was the chocolate cake and
citrus mousse with an olive oil gelato that sent us to a foodie
Eden. There’s lots to keep vegetarians and vegans happy, too.
A suite corner, alongside a snapshot of restaurant Ai
Is there a bar?
Bar Fiori is where it all goes down. There, award-winning wines
and artisan cocktails are served atop a marble counter wrapped in
fabulous floral arrangements. It’s worth noting, however, that the
bar is only open from Thursday to Sunday.
It’s breakfast in bed or a trip down to Ai Fiori. Opt for the
French toast – all whipped ricotta, cinnamon and seasonal compote –
or the smoked salmon, avocado toast, berry-stuffed homemade
granola, steel-cut oats and seasonal fruits, bacon and feta
omelette, and chef’s choice of fresh-from-the-oven pastries all
Rooms are kitted out with all the essentials: complimentary tea,
coffee and cartoned water, a smart TV, hairdryers (that combat bad
hair days), super-speedy WiFi and luxurious bath products courtesy
of Diptyque. In the spacious fitness studio, a stellar selection of
weights and high-tech equipment will knock your sleep pattern back
into shape in no time.
The real standout, however, is The Langham Club – a fourth-floor
snug serving all-day complimentary refreshments to guests staying
in executive club rooms. In the morning, flaky pastries, fresh
juices and all sorts of hot stuff is served straight from the
kitchen – we loved the poached eggs, perfectly cooked bacon strips
and syrup-smothered waffles during our visit. Mid-afternoon brings
light snacks and sandwiches, while after dark, cocktails and
canapés come out to play. A word to the wise: It’s never too early
for a glass of bubbles in The Club.
The Langham Club, and a look at the outdoor
How about their eco-credentials?
Solid, and living proof that it’s often the work that goes on
behind the scenes that makes the biggest impact. The Langham group
is known for its green practices: using energy-efficient lighting,
recycled papers and plastics, following food waste programmes and
providing biodegradable toiletries. We weren’t surprised to learn
that the hotel has been awarded the EarthCheck Gold Certification
for eight years running.
What about accessibility?
All floors have step-free access, social spaces are roomy and
some bedrooms are specially designed for those with reduced
What’s the crowd like?
The silver-haired kind of suave, along with lots of couples and
a fair few business travellers. Kids and pups are welcome, but must
be kept on a leash in public areas – that applies to the latter,
The presidential suite, left, and the fitness
Things I should know
There are a handful of hot water dispensers in the lobby and a
basket of herbal and non-herbal tea pouches for a cuppa to-go.
Those pink water cartons embellished with The Langham’s logo?
Within a short walk I can find…
Everything that concrete jungle dreams are made of. The Empire
State Building, Grand Central, Times Square and Central Park are
all within walking distance of the hotel’s fancy front doors.
Already ticked off the tourist stuff? Thrifters should venture a
little further afield to the NoHo neighbourhood, where streetwear
stores Laced Up and 2nd Street stock secondhand designer threads
and killer kicks. For a glass of the chilled stuff, it’s over to
the Lower East Side’s Le Dive or Parcelle. If it’s food you’re after, then a visit to
Market will get the job done – we loved the five-layer
sandwiches at Friedman’s.
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